by Lynn Millspaugh | Photography by Lynn Millspaugh
Yes, you can throw a fancy Thanksgiving fête without painstaking prep. While you tend to the turkey, we’ll dress your dining room to the nines with the help of Chicago’s Art of Imagination.

When it comes to the holidays, there’s none as sweet and delicious as Thanksgiving—except, for that matter, Friendsgiving. With all the expected accoutrements—a golden turkey, ruby red cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie—a Friendsgiving celebration can be every bit as comforting as its traditional counterpart, without the family drama.

Playing host for the holidays this season? We called on the experts at Chicago event planning company Art of Imagination to help you set the table—and the mood for your Friendsgiving feast. So, while you slave away in the kitchen this month, leave the decorating to us. We’re bringing you simple, affordable, and stylish tips for making this Thanksgiving one to be grateful for.


The Centerpiece

Embrace the autumn season by bringing a bit of the outdoors in. A charming rustic tablescape can be as simple as a burlap runner (go easy and pick up a bolt of fabric from Joann’s Fabric), bright-toned leaves plucked from the front yard, flickering candlelight, and something that’s sure to catch the eye—like these hand-blown glass pumpkins from Chicago’s own Ignite Glass Studios.


The Placesettings

When it came time to set the table, Deborah Weisenhaus, the artist and creative force behind Art of Imagination, struck a balance between fresh and traditional. “Don’t be afraid to combine modern pieces with Grandma’s vintage,” she advises. Here, Deborah and her team mixed white ceramic dishware with delicate china, and offset old fashioned crystal glasses with metallic blown glass cups.

Placecards are a formal touch, but there’s no need to be stuffy with them. Deborah recommends keeping the table playful, by printing out each guests’ latest Facebook profile photo. Mount it on heavy-duty cardstock and display each in an easy holder made from a split wine cork.


The Bar

Nothing says opulence quite like a grand floral centerpiece. But for all its charm and whimsy, this beautiful display is an easy and affordable one to throw together: Deborah gathered curly willows of varying heights (pull these from the backyard if you can, she advises), a few fat sunflowers, and base florals like hydrangea and lilies to round out the bouquet. Experiment with your favorite blooms to achieve your own look. Small pumpkins painted white, a few pinecones scattered about, and hardy succulents up the bar’s wow factor.


The Details

Leave it to the event experts to point out that a party’s not a party without a good ol’ fashioned group activity. Remind your pals of the significance of the day’s feast, by encouraging them to jot down what they’re grateful for. Deborah and team cut out colorful leaves and strung them with raffia. Once guests have shared their gratitude, have them string their leaves from the curly willow on the bar.






Need more Friendsgiving inspiration? Flip through our slideshow below to see the stunning Thanksgiving setting Deborah and her team at Art of Imagination created for us at Loft on Lake in the West Loop. Find all of these images and more on our Pinterest page!
Photography by Lynn Millspaugh
Photography by Lynn Millspaugh
Photography by Lynn Millspaugh
Photography by Lynn Millspaugh
Photography by Lynn Millspaugh
Photography by Lynn Millspaugh
Photography by Lynn Millspaugh
Photography by Lynn Millspaugh
Photography by Lynn Millspaugh
Photography by Lynn Millspaugh
Photography by Lynn Millspaugh
Photography by Lynn Millspaugh
Sources:
Style and Design: Art of Imagination
Platters: Nimblewell
Plates, glassware & silverware: Vintage Rentals
Handblown pumpkins: Ignite Glass Studios
Tables & chairs: Tablescapes
Table linens: Private Label
Beautiful venue: Loft on Lake



2014-11-11